U.S. Senator John Kerry used to live in Millis, which is also known for the Millis Lights and a ginger ale company now known as Canada Dry.
The next big thing from Millis? It will likely be Jon Baker, a 6-foot-3, 300-pound two-way lineman who plays for the Millis-Hopedale co-op program.
Baker, a junior, picked up a scholarship offer from the University of Massachusetts –- his first offer -– last May. Offers from Boston College and Connecticut came shortly thereafter.
“Harvard has also offered him in the way that they can,” Millis-Hopedale coach Dale Olmstead said. “They'll support his application is the way they put it.”
Baker has been a varsity starter since the first day of his freshman season. He played center that year, but has since been moved to guard. He lines up at noseguard as well.
“All four of the schools are great schools,” Baker said. “Obviously education is important, but so is football. Right now everything is still an option. It's still pretty early.”
According to Olmstead, Baker is being recruited to play one of the interior offensive line positions. Baker said he would prefer to play offensive line, but hasn't ruled out playing defense in college either.
“BC has shown the most interest,” Olmstead said. “Coach [Sean] Devine is pretty thorough. They want to make him their center. They want to make him their poster child because he's a 4.0 student interested in pre-med.”
Baker, 17, popped on the radar after a strong showing at BC's camp last summer. That's where the Harvard coaches first noticed him.
Virginia defensive coordinator Jim Reid is scheduled to be at Millis-Hopedale on Monday. Michigan and Stanford are among the other schools that have shown strong interest. He attended a camp at Virginia this summer, and visited Michigan as well.
“Michigan [assistant coach Curt Mallory] has been by three times,” Olmstead said. “They're very interested in him. Stanford is a strong academic school with good football, so that might be a good fit. After the season I expect every school in the country to come calling.”
Baker said he has no timetable for committing to a school, but added that he would prefer to have the decision made before the start of his senior season.
“That would be nice,” he said. “I'll make it when it feels right. There's no hurry.”
Mass. appeal: No one can accuse the University of Massachusetts of ignoring local talent. The Minutemen extended an offer to St. John's Prep junior running back Jon Thomas on Tuesday night. Thomas ran for 233 yards and three touchdowns in a 49-8 victory over St. John's (Shrewsbury) last weekend.
Five New England players from the Class of 2013 have committed to UMass: quarterback Todd Stafford (The Brunswick School, Greenwich, Conn.), defensive end Peter Ngobidi (Catholic Memorial), defensive tackle Terrel Correia (Nantucket), offensive tackle Tyson Henderson (St. George's School, Middletown, R.I.) and defensive end Cole Ormsby (Windsor High School, Windsor, Conn.).
UMass has made an offer to at least one Class of 2013 player in four of the six New England states.
Footnotes: Twelve players from Connecticut (Class of 2013) have committed to Division I schools. Massachusetts currently has eight Division I commitments in the Class of 2013...The highest-rated uncommitted player from New England is Tabor Academy's Tevin Montgomery, a three-star defensive tackle who has narrowed his choices to Boston College, Vanderbilt and Virginia...Three-star wide receiver David Coggins (Sacred Heart, Waterbury, Conn.) said Massachusetts, Stony Brook, Temple and Illinois are the schools showing the most interest. Coggins decommitted from Boston College last month.
Recruiting information regarding high school or prep school players in New England can be sent to Roger Brown at email@example.com.